good morning good morning
How do you condense two episodes of Top Chef in a recap and not break 1,000 words? By leaving a lot of information out. So here we go on how the last two weeks unfolded:
Last Chance Kitchen returnee: Dale (Episode 6)
Eliminated chefs: Sylwia (E6), Dale (E7)
Quickfire winner: Buddha (E7)
Elimination challenge winners: Nicole (E6), Ali (E7)
Was there a Tottenham Hotspur Stadium sighting? No, mercifcully.
Episode 6 kicks off with a tea-time Last Chance Kitchen duel between Begona and Dale, with the winner re-entering the competition. The tea-time tower would consist of one scone, one pastry and one sandwich. Dale emerged as the victor after Begona failed to get any of her scones on the towers. A shame because she was the most talented chef, but this competition didn’t seem to suit her.
Elimination challenge, Episode 6: Our chefs continued to make fine foods by elevating a picnic basket, to be served against the backdrop of the castle featured in Downton Abbey (I’ve never seen).
They were split into two teams: Buddha, Charbel, Sara, Victoire, Dale, and Nicole // Ali, Amar, Gabri, Tom and Sylwia.
It was the first team that came out on top with separate dishes of deviled eggs with caviar, nicoise salad with salmon and some other things I forgot. But it was Nicole’s nicoise salad and salmon that converted Judge Tom to reconsider the dish in a new way!
Although losers, Ali and Amar were spared from the bottom. And I would even dare say muhammara with pickled walnuts received some of the highest praise of the day. But the judges were less keen on Sylwia’s su borek and German Tom’s luxurious cioppino salad. The two battled it out in a sandwich-making competition, and it was German Tom’s beef sandwich that sent Sylwia to Last Chance Kitchen.
Episode 7 pushed the chefs to new levels of creativity, thanks to guest judge Gaggan Anand. For our quickfire, the chefs had to create a dish that best represented an emoji. Some went for obvious ones like a banana or duck, some didn’t quite understand what an emoji meant (poor Ali and the lucky clover) and some like Buddha impressed with their take on the frozen-face emoji. His frozen-skull mode and coconut secured him immunity!
The elimination challenged force our cheftestants to create a dish that could be consumed without any utensils. Gaggan Anand made them all his famous “Rainbow World” dish as inspiration.
Buddha and German Tom - two of the most creative chefs here - lapped it up while others were a little more sceptical.
Chefs also had to create a dish that came with an underlying message. Gabri celebrated organic corn and Sara ‘slowed things down’ with her cocoa pecan rib.
But this week the MENA boys were back on top! Charbel celebrated Lebanon with what was essentially a cracker and some dip, and Ali’s vegan version of kubbeh with chickpea mousse handed the Jordanian chef his third elimination challenge win of the season. He’s emerging as the clear front-runner now.
Meanwhile, Congolese chef and Top Chef Italy winner Victoire struggled in her celebration of African gastronomy. Our judges were unimpressed with her take on akara, which celebrated the colours of Africa but perhaps not the flavour.
German Tom surprisingly landed in the bottom in what’s becoming a trend for our chef. Sure, he had a dish that would have and could have won the challenge, but a flat pumpkin/ginger/carrot mousse also fell flat with the judges.
However both those dishes triumphed over Dale’s mole. The mole was fine, actually, the judges thought. But they were most unimpressed with his chicken, which was not cooked with the mole (a brave idea to make a mole in the same competition featuring a Top Chef Mexico winner - Gabri - known for making mole).
So there goes Dale, back to Last Chance Kitchen, and we march one step closer to restaurant wars (which surely must be two episodes away!).
Fitzie’s Top Chef tiers:
Other contenders: Sara, Charbel, Buddha
Potential spoilers: Amar, Nicole
Straggling along: German Tom, Victoire, Gabri
Fitzie’s track of the day: Rhythm Nation, by Janet Jackson
And now for your links:
Dan KP: Spurs’ latest embarrassment runs much deeper than Cristian Stellini’s tactics
Alasdair Gold’s latest video on Daniel Levy and much more
Luton Town secure come-from-behind win vs Boro to strengthen grip on third
The Guardian: Mauricio Pochettino a perfect fit to unite Chelsea
NYT ($$) asks What’s next for Wrexham?